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July Chief's Concerns

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Thomas, State Command Chief for the South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 13, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Thomas, State Command Chief for the South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 13, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

In June, I was selected as the 13th State Command Chief for the South Carolina Air National Guard.  I am honored that the SCANG leadership has given me the responsibility to advise them on the concerns of the enlisted force. The three areas that I want to focus on during my time as the State Command Chief are 1) force development; 2) improving communication; 3) emphasizing the importance of professional organizations.

In my career as a security forces squad leader, fighter wing human resource advisor and as the mission support group superintendent, I have made it a priority to help our Airmen get where they want to go in their career. In doing so, I want to develop our future leaders in the SCANG. One way to do that is to help them get the experiences needed to develop into future leaders.

Force Development! Where do you want to go in your career? Do you want to be the next command chief?  Do you want to go on tour at NGB and then come back to McEntire? Do you want to be a first sergeant or do you just want to do 20 years, make master sergeant and get out? Any of those are fine, but we as leaders need to help put our Airmen in position to achieve their goals. Can everyone be the next command chief? No, but if we talk to our Airmen, find out where they want to go in their career.  We can advise them on the experiences they should gain, the courses they should take and the people they should network with to make them better-developed professional Airmen. 

At a recent Enlisted Field Advisory Council (EFAC) meeting I attended, the former command chief of the Air National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, introduced the Enlisted Force Development - Concept of Operations. The EFD Con Ops addresses enlisted career planning for Airmen, NCOs and Senior NCOs. This career planning tool shows a developmental pyramid, lists developmental special duties and highlights the recently developed Senior Enlisted Management Office (SELMO), which manages functional oversight, coordinates senior leader education opportunities and processes nominations to key DOD senior enlisted leaders positions for over 155 ANG command chiefs and senior enlisted leaders.

The developmental pyramid gives examples based on your current rank as to which job experiences and courses you could take to develop you as Airmen and help advance your career. For example, as a staff sergeant or technical sergeant, you could be a unit career advisor, participate in a joint exercise, be an additional duty first sergeant or do a STAT tour. Master sergeants can be a section chief, UCI/ORI Inspectors and attend the International NCO Leadership Development Seminar (INLEAD). I challenge each of you to take charge of your professional development.

An area that I think we can improve on in the SCANG is to improve communication with our Airmen. I remember as an Airman hearing about things from people outside of my squadron. It seems that there was always some information that my SNCO's filtered out and never bothered to share. In the coming months, I will be introducing a new tool to keep the SCANG Airmen informed on what is going on in the ANG from a national and state level. 

Being a member of a professional organizations is very important to your professional development.  There are many military professional organizations you can join. I am a life member of the National Guard Association of South Carolina (NGASC), the Enlisted Association of National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) and the Air Force Association. I am also a member of the Security Forces Association and an associate member of the National Guard Association of the United States.

I encourage each of you to talk to your supervisor and tell them what you want to do in the Air National Guard. If your boss does not know what your career goals are, it is your fault. Supervisors "YOU" should ask your Airmen what they want to do. In the last year, I have identified two potential future command chiefs who were technical sergeants at the time. Have the tough conversation about what is expected of them based on where they want to go in their career and then help them achieve their goals.

To help me improve communication, please follow me on the following social media sites and feel free to reach out to me.

Instagram- SC13CCM

Twitter- @SC13CCM

Facebook- South Carolina State Command Chief

803-361-1228 and kevin.s.thomas5.mil@mail.mil